The Nature of Spirits

This is partially a metaphysical note, partially an extension of the monsters list, and partially just a way for me to kill some time. In the world of the White City the "spirit" of a thing refers to its essence, the core of its being, the thing that makes it what it is. Spirits are not necessarily ethereal, in the world of the White City magical, divine and metaphysical things are real. Really real. Physically here. Most spirits are in some way related to something divine in some way or another. Humans do have spirits, which may remain after their death in either physical or ethereal form depending (largely) on how their body was disposed of.

Spirits & Alchemists
Alchemy is about spirit. It is about the isolation and understanding of the essential natures of things. As a result, alchemists have something of an advantage when dealing with spirits. An alchemist who has a chance to study a spirit for a whole day or more can buy their next Rank of the Alchemy for 2xp rather than the usual 6. An alchemist who actually manages to get a chance to do experiments on a spirit can produce some very interesting and unusual results.

Spirits, Priests & Sorcerors
An Ordained Priest of a set of Powers is generally assumed to know how to interact with spirits of those Powers. A Sorceror is assumed to be able to exert some control over the spirits, although it may require effort and lengthy ritual. This is ultimately an on-the-spot GM call. Note that it is easier for Ordained Sorcerors to control spirits, but non-Ordained ones don't have to worry about pissing off the Powers.

Ancient Spirits of Place

Usually associated with the Old Powers, the spirits of the old wild places are usually very physical beings. There won't be a spirit for every tree (or rather there will be, but it will just be the tree) or stretch of river, but there will be a spirit of any particularly old and dark part of the forest, and of any major river. Spirits of Place may take a variety of forms, humans, animals, rocks, trees, whatever really. The distinction between "weak Old Power" and "powerful Spirit of Place" is by no means clear cut.

For Example: The Spirit of the Great River
The Spirit of the Great River is an enigmatic figure, not much encountered. It is thought that her last appearance was fighting alongside the White City at the Battle of Dream-Bridge. Rumour has it that she has fallen foul of whatever it is at the Palace at Three Rivers, although other rumours claim that three adventurers managed to save her from being sacrificed by a necromancer.
7 / Triples / Hard to Kill, Blood Magic (4)

Airy Spirits

Servants of the Princes of Breath, the Airy Spirits are usually insubstantial and sometimes ethereal as well (once again the distinction isn't necessarily clear cut). They range from breeze-spirits and what I am loath to term "elementals" to sinister spirits of disease and slander.

For Example: Zephyrs, Breeze Spirits
Mercurial insubstantial spirit-beings of limited intelligence, and posing limited threat, Zephyrs are periodically used by Wind Sorcerors as spies and messengers.
3 (Global) / Singles / Insubstantial

Spirits of the Dead

Once again these may be either ethereal or corporeal, and may have been brought out of the Burned Realm by pious or impious means, or may even just never have got in. The spirits of the dead are much as they were in life, once the inevitable changes brought about by a traumatic experience like dying are taken into account.

For Example: David Collins, Avenging Spirit
David Collins was a simple traveller until about four years ago, when he was cut to ribbons by bandits whilst travelling between the City of Crossroads and the White City. Since then he has been eking out vengeance against pretty much anything that crosses his path.
5 (Psychic) / Singles / Ethereal, Poltergeist

Spirits of Glass

It is not certain whether things of Glass count as spirits or not. The Shattered Plain is by its very nature unnatural, and things of Glass seem too fractured and disjointed to count as spirits in the truest sense of the word. There are certainly things that come from glass, some physical and some not, but they ultimately represent nothing outside themselves.

Spirits of Dream

Spirits of Dream are as numerous and manifold as dreams themselves. There are ten thousand spirits of nightmare, a thousand spirits of falling, spirits of sleeping and waking and visions and delusions without number.

For Example: Lady Millicent, Capricious Thing
Lady Millicent is a weird Dream spirit who wanders the passes of the North. She is generally known for helping and hindering travellers in equal measure, offering them food and guidance one moment and assaulting them with creatures of nightmare the next.
7 (Psychic) / Singles (Psychic) / Ethereal, Dream Magic (4)

Bound Spirits

There were almost certainly spirits associated with the Bound Ones, indeed these beings can on occasion be summoned up through Chain Magic. They tend to be strange ethereal creatures, what they look like unbound is hard to say since people rarely survive seeing them in such a state.

Spirits of the Light

It is a matter of some contention as to whether there are manifest spirits associated with the Light. Hardliners insist that the Light is indivisible, but others maintain that the Light has a thousand thousand aspects, and that a part of it shines within every human soul, and so of course there are facets of the Light that take earthly form. Spirits of the Light are of course ethereal, shining and glorious. Some are outright blinding to look upon. They tend to represent abstract things, since the Light rarely concerns itself with base matter.

For Example: The Scourge, Spirit of the Light
The Scourge is one of the more... hostile aspects of the Light. It abolishes the impure with not so much as a thought of mercy. It is rarely invoked, since you have to be pretty damn sure of your own purity to want to risk it.
15 (Global) / Triples / Insubstantial, Light Magic (2)

Spirits of the Black Flame

A number of spirits appear to have come into being with the Black Flame. Others appear to have been created as a side effect of various unpleasant uses of its sorcery. These spirits are regularly characterised either by an insatiable drive towards some abstract end, or else a complete absence of any motivation save the hunger to consume.

For Example: Tenders of the Flame
These powerful spirits of the Flame seek out those who will be willing to make substantial sacrifices to the Black Flame. In exchange they grant power, knowledge and occassionally material aid. The power of any given Tender varies depending on what Sacrifices have been made through it. While the spirits take many forms, at their centre is always a small piece of coal.
10-20/ Doubles-Quads /Black Flame 3, May draw people touching their coal into Psychic Combat where they have comparable stats

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This page last updated: 18th February 2008

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